Tuesday, January 5, 2010

8 Miles

Back before it got too cold to think, I decided to sign up for a half-marathon in January. I had just come back from an X-Country race and still giddy from the run and the medal, I registered for races all the way through March.

Having to train for a half-marathon would help me run during the holidays. It was a good plan until the temperatures dropped low enough for the Central Park polar bears to start missing the summer.

Last Sunday I was scheduled to do an 8miler. My knee had been cranky since my last long run. It had been sore for the New Year’s Eve 3miler, and I was worried about going for 8. But if I didn’t, I’d have to call it quits on the half. I wasn’t ready to do that without at least giving it a try.

With a -6 wind chill and a moody knee, my expectations for that run were very low. I did what I could to prepare. It was the first time I had ever run in that temperature and I was glad I had read Steve Stenzel’s article about keeping your feet comfortable while running in the winter. The red duct tape kept my toes happy. (Thanks, Steve!)

Maybe it’s all about expectations - have them too high and you’re bound to be disappointed. I expected to hate the run and have to bail either because of general misery or out of concern for my knee.

What I got was eight miles of joy. The first few minutes hit me hard but after a couple of blocks I was ready to take off a top layer and wrap it around my waist – which my butt appreciated.

I kept a modest pace and my knee didn't hurt. It was cold, I had to remove my neck gaiter which froze from my breathing through it, and there were droplets of ice hanging from my eyelashes. It was so windy the trees in Prospect Park were roaring.

And all that made it beautiful. Somehow. It sounds painful, but it wasn’t. It was peaceful.

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